What makes a good leader? Integrity, honesty, productivity, confidence, hard work – all of those (and many more) are qualities good leaders should have.
But what separates a good leader and a great leader?
Self-awareness is a quality all great leaders have. The ability and motivation to not only know others but know themselves. They monitor their own emotions and actions, know their strengths, weaknesses, and triggers, know what actions and emotions affect them the most, and know how to deal with them efficiently.
Self-aware leaders are better at communication, self-growth, productivity, and communication.
By being realistic and self-aware, they can build better relationships with others, understand other people’s emotions better, develop better habits, be more productive and organized, motivate others, be more compassionate, have better communication with those around them, and constantly grow, both as a person and as a leader.
In fact, many scientists and successful leaders believe self-awareness is the key to successful leadership.
Important skills self-aware leaders have
Let’s look at some of the skills self-aware leaders have that we mentioned.
The best way to be more confident as a leader is to be fully aware of all of your strengths and weaknesses. You know what you can and can’t do, you know what triggers you, you know how you’ll react in which situation, and you know how to be more productive because you know yourself. By knowing where you shine and where you don’t, you’ll have full confidence in the decisions you’re making and the way you’re leading others.
By understanding yourself, you can understand others as well. Raising your self-awareness will raise your emotional intelligence, which instantly makes you more compassionate and understanding towards others.
By being aware of your actions and emotions, you can translate your feelings into words, and be better at communication. Knowing how certain things you say sound will make it easier to get your point across in a nice way, while also understanding the other side better.
When you’re self-aware, you know what you’re good at, and what you’re not the best at. You know how each task makes you feel, how long each task will take, and what your time is best spent at. Therefore, you can organize your time and be more productive, by planning your time with your strengths and weaknesses in mind.
You can’t grow and evolve without knowing your strengths and weaknesses. You need to know what your strengths are, so you can use them to your advantage in order to evolve, and you need to know where you lack, so you can work on improving those parts of your leadership skills.
So, how can you raise your self-awareness as a leader?
There are a few tips and practices that can help you get there.
5 ways to raise your self-awareness as a leader
Know your strengths and weaknesses
To know your strengths and weaknesses, you can ask others for feedback, and you can observe how your actions impact others, and how they impact the work they do.
Some leaders are naturally better at motivating others, while others are maybe better at managing specific tasks. Are your directions and explanations clear, or do they leave your team members confused? Are your pep talks calming your employees down, or making them even more nervous? Are you better at verbal conversations, or written conversations?
Ask those you work with for feedback on specific actions you make and things you do, and figure out where you excel at, and where you could improve.
Accept that you aren’t the best at everything, and you can’t be. Accept your weaknesses, because that’s the only way they won’t defeat you. Ask for help when you need it, and do more of the things you know you do well.
Observe your feelings
How can you truly know yourself and be self-aware? By monitoring your emotions and feelings. It’s easy to ignore your feelings and pretend they don’t exist. It’s also easy to ignore the cause of those feelings.
However, that’s not how you’ll become self-aware.
Don’t repress your emotions, embrace them. When you’re starting to get irritated, be mindful of the fact you’re getting angry, and figure out why. When you feel satisfied, notice that, and embrace the thing that made you feel that way.
By listening to your own feelings and emotions, you’ll learn your triggers. You’ll learn what actions make you happy, angry, disappointed, sad. When you know that, you’ll be able to control those emotions and make conscious decisions when leading.
Find your patterns
When you understand your feelings, you can start seeing patterns. Does a specific thing your employees do always make you mad? Is there a specific answer in an interview that candidates give that makes you irritated? Notice patterns with your emotions.
To truly be a great leader, you need to keep an open mind at all times. You need to be curious, and embrace other people’s points of view and opinions. Only then will you be able to grow, because you’ll be able to improve things you didn’t even know could be improved.
Keeping an open mind will also help you understand others better. Just because you do something a certain way, doesn’t mean that’s the only good way. By listening to their opinions and thoughts, you’re learning how they operate, which will help you lead them in the right way. Being self-aware is knowing your way isn’t the only way.
Think about others
One of the key parts of becoming self-aware is knowing how your actions and words affect others. When you’re a leader, you have certain responsibilities not only towards the work but towards your team members and employees as well.
A good leader can’t just think about their own emotions, wishes, and needs. You need to think about how you’re making others feel.
Notice if your words and actions are making those around you happy, relaxed, stressed, scared, nervous, irritated. When you see how you’re making them feel, be mindful of what you said or did to make them feel that way. A stressed employee can’t do a great job, so the way you’re making others around you feel directly impacts the work they’re doing.
These 5 tips will help you start being mindful of your emotions and actions, and by doing that, you will be raising your self-awareness. However, the first step is deciding you want to grow as a leader and as a person because raising your self-awareness entails constant work. So, try implementing these strategies into your life and work, and see how they improve your leadership skills and personal evolvement.
If you’re a woman in a c-suite or senior executive role and you’re ready to expand your leadership, better navigate politics, and, gain clarity on what’s holding you back so that you can make a bigger impact in your career, apply for a complimentary consultation here.
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